I have always dreamed of purchasing an Airstream travel trailer, throwing caution (read: my job) to the wind, and cruising the winding roads of America with no clear destination in mind and no end-date in sight.
Reality check: I have been married for a decade, I have a three-year-old son, I own a business, I run a non-profit, and I have a fat mortgage. I am pretty certain I am disqualified for this sort of adventure. Right?
Lifestyle limitations aside, my family has only one car (a 2003 Honda Element with 200,000 miles) that lacks the giddy-up to drag a traditional travel trailer around the country.
Daydreams and web-search procrastinations aside, I had pretty much put the matter to rest when I happened on a vintage trailer forum thread aimed at Honda Element owners. The post went something like this, “Want to tour the country with a travel trailer? Frustrated by the 1500 pound towing limit of your Element? Why not try a vintage Shasta Compact trailer?…”
Other than admiring one at a campground once, I had no idea what a Shasta was, what one should cost, and if my faithful Element could indeed haul one. But before I could say “See the USA in your Chevrolet“, I located a cheery yellow and blue 1969 Shasta Compact for sale in the Classified Ad section of the forum. One phone call and one wire transfer later, I accomplished my most impulsive purchase to date.
A little speed bump: Atlanta is my home, and the Shasta was in Warsaw, Indiana. Well, lucky for me, the in-laws live in Chicagoland two hours away, and we were due for a Christmastime visit in less than a week. Problem solved.
1000 miles and too many tanks of gasoline later, the Shasta ten-footer is now perched on a concrete pad in my backyard, daring me daily to think the unthinkable, plan the unplannable, and carpe the old diem.
Chris from MoneySuperMarket.com sent an email to the blog this morning, informing me that their company is offering £1000 British Pounds to a lucky travel blogger who schemes up the most creative way spend it on a grand adventure.
Where I come from, a pound is more a measure of sliced roast beef at a deli, but a Google conversion shows that £1000 British equals approximately $1600 in US currency. That may not go all that far for most travelers, but in the BlinkPacking world, that is a lot of guacamole.
So dear MoneySuperMarket friends, if I were to win your contest, you would find me slowly spending the prize by exploring the far reaches of America with my 1969 Shasta Compact in tow, blogging, Instagram-ing, and Facebook-ing all the way. $50 US buys me around 200 driving miles (322 km) with the trailer attached, which means that your award of £1000 would buy me 6,400 miles (10,300 km) of traversing the USA. Now, that would be a grand adventure.
Will I muster the courage to shirk the conventions of life in favor of an epic road trip? My impulsive trailer purchase, my entry to the MoneySuperMarket contest, and this blog post are all my way of throwing my ante onto the table and saying, “I’m all in.”
America, I will see you soon.